Published on April 12, 2021

Best Outdoor Rug Options Pin It

Sculptural planters, graphic patio umbrellas, and firepits may get the most attention when it comes to alfresco design, but don’t overlook a backyard’s or balcony’s most hardworking player. When styled well, the right outdoor rug can make your yard feel as cozy as your living room. It can also hide all sorts of eyesores—from chipped tiles to stained wood decking—and is a quick fix for rentals if you can’t (or don’t have the budget to) tackle a complete reno overhaul.

To find your space’s perfect match, consider the climate. Will it be left out in the rain and full sunlight or under the shade of a canopy? Natural-fiber options like jute and sisal require some coverage because they’re sensitive to the elements and need regular cleaning, whereas synthetics —polypropylene, nylon, polyester, and acrylic—are a bit more hardy.

No matter what your style, Kevin Isbell of design firm Kevin Isbell Interiors says consistency is key. “Your outdoor space should feel like an extension of your home and not as if you just stepped into Margaritaville,” he says. In other words, if your house is teeming with neutral, earthy tones, aim to continue that theme. Now that you’ve narrowed down the material and aesthetic, shop our guide to the very best options on the market.

The Short List

Best Overall: Dash & Albert Samson Navy Indoor/Outdoor Rug

The experts we spoke to agree: Dash & Albert’s outdoor rugs stand out above the rest. Michelle Lisac, founder and principal designer of Michelle Lisac Interior Design, prefers a lower dhurrie-weave pile height, like this handwoven one made from recycled PET. The narrow navy and white lines will help hide stains and scuffs but aren’t too busy, so it won’t compete with a colorful sofa or overwhelm a small space.

Best Value: Collive Farmhouse Cotton Woven Area Rug

For a crisp, graphic effect, consider a classic black-and-white striped rug. This version is constructed from a woven cotton-polyester blend that’s reversible and can be thrown in the washing machine for easy cleaning, making it perfect for pets, kids, and spill-prone guests. Because it’s lightweight, it’s easy to move around to accommodate different activities and entertaining needs.

Best for Covered Patios: NuLoom Rigo Hand Woven Jute Area Rug

This bestselling, under-$200 jute option is versatile for both indoor or outdoor use, but for the latter, be sure to style it in a shaded area that won’t get wet. “Natural-fiber rugs are prone to fading in direct sunlight and can absorb water, which makes them susceptible to mold and mildew,” explains Cyrus Loloi, principal and CMO of rug and textile brand Loloi. This best-seller has more than 10,000 reviews and was consistently praised for its tight weave that is kind to bare feet.

Best Patterned: Rifle Paper Co. x Loloi AME-02 RP Trellis Navy Rug

Trust the pros at stationery and accessories brand Rifle Paper Co. to create this intricate midnight blue and blush design (it’s the perfect pick for high-traffic areas that need a dose of character and whimsy). Go all out and pair it with a French marigold embroidered pillow, another standout from the collaboration.

Best Geometric: Crate & Barrel Stockert Indoor/Outdoor Geo Rug

Crate & Barrel is also one of Lisac’s go-to sources for outdoor rugs, and this abstract find made from PET plastic from bottles is her current obsession. “It’s one of my favorite materials because it’s very soft underfoot but also very durable,” she explains. The tonal gray squares lend an artful touch to modern, clean-line furniture.

Best Olefin: Unique Loom Solo Solid Shag Collection Area Rug

Polypropylene, often called olefin, is popular for a reason. The synthetic resin fibers don’t absorb any liquids or stains, making it ultra-durable. This shag might not seem like it’s suited for nature, but don’t let the plush pile mislead you. It has more than 30,000 positive reviews on Amazon and is available in 21 shades, including classic navy and ivory (if you dare).

Best Acrylic: Perennials Ikat Stripe Indoor/Outdoor Rug

Isbell suggests checking out interior designer–beloved performance rug brand Perennials. “For the best color saturations and near indestructibility, I prefer 100 percent solution-dyed acrylic rugs” he says, like this handwoven pick featuring an abstract, three-tone take on Indian ikat. Not only are they mildew- and fade-resistant, but they hold color beautifully and any tough stains can be cleaned with bleach.

Best Polyester: West Elm Desert Stream Indoor/Outdoor Rug

This wool look-alike (it’s actually polyester) exudes the coziness of an indoor rug. The subtle yet sophisticated pattern stands out from the sea of striped and chevron-print options on the market, if you’d rather not match your neighbors’ backyards or patios.

Pro Tips for Buying an Outdoor Rug

  • Invest in the highest quality you can afford. Whatever your budget, whether under $300 or four figures, Isbell says outdoor rugs are a category you shouldn’t skimp on. “They take a beating far more than any indoor carpet, so the old saying, ‘It only hurts once’ applies here,” he explains.
  • Think twice about light colors and chunky textures. That is, if durability is a nonnegotiable. “This advice goes against all the things that I appreciate when thinking about interior design, but functionality takes priority when it comes to exteriors,” explains Terry Lin, cofounder and chief design officer of DTC outdoor living brand Outer. “Your rug will inevitably get dirty. Light colors will get dingy. Textures in the weave will become a catchall for grime,”she says. “Think about maintenance and upkeep.”
  • Contrast is key. “If the furniture is really eclectic, I would choose a rug in a solid shade,” says Caitlin Murray, founder and creative director of Black Lacquer Design. But if the patio is quite neutral, consider a patterned rug to make things feel more textured and layered. Essentially, no matter your choice, try to avoid monotony. “You never want it to blend in with the flooring,” she adds.

How We Vetted These Products

Every product in a Domino guide meets these criteria:

  1. They blend form and function. We believe the best-designed products reflect your personal style and are a joy to use.
  2. They’re expert approved. In addition to our team of editors, we tap a range of designers, makers, renovators, and all-around knowledgeable people to share their intel.
  3. They’re endorsed by people who actually own them. We pay close attention to real reviews from both our creative community and third-party websites to know that they pass the test IRL.

Every product is independently selected by (obsessive) editors. Things you buy through our links may earn us a commission.

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